Concerns in Iowa over possible marijuana legalization in Illinois

Published: Nov. 14, 2018 at 10:13 PM CST
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J.B. Pritzker says he supports legalizing recreational marijuana in Illinois, but the state of Iowa has no intention of doing the same right now. If Illinois legalizes it in the future, some in the Quad Cities worry about the drug making its way across the river into Iowa.

Illinois and Iowa are only 5 to 10 minute drives from one to the other if you live in or near the Quad Cities, so Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane thinks it is reasonable to assume the drug will make its way to his home state.

"We're going to have recreational drug use so close to our county, I think it's reasonable to believe that some people will either accidentally or intentionally will bring marijuana across the river," he said. "Which will still be illegal on this side."

But some don't necessarily think it will be that easy.

"The person has to come to a legally authorized dispensary in Illinois, and show an ID, that matches an ID in the Illinois database via photograph," says marijuana dispensary manager Ron Glassner. "So it would be impossible basically for anyone from Iowa to come to an Illinois dispensary and buy."

Sheriff Lane says this will also result in a different training for some police officers - how to spot a driver under the influence of marijuana.

"We will definitely be looking towards sending more officers to training, specifically to be drug recognition experts and capable of making the kind of arrests that we're going to need for operating motor vehicles under the influence of marijuana," said Sheriff Lane.

But Lane doesn't want this to scare people into thinking his officers will just be doing random stops, slowing people down who aren't breaking any laws.

"The sheriff's office does not intend to lead any type of operation where we will be randomly stopping and searching cars as they enter the state of Iowa," he said. "It's important to me that we do not waste the time of those citizens who have done nothing wrong and are not bringing marijuana into our state."

Glassner also ended by saying people in Illinois shouldn't want marijuana going over the border, either.

"I don't think it would be the smart thing for anybody to do," he said. "Obviously we don't advocate that."